Never fear if you have a maths test in the morning.
Studying maths before bed leads to better retention of what you’ve learned according to UK researchers. Their findings are published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
Leading the research was Dr Jayne Spiller, a lecturer at the University of Leicester department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour.
The study “tested the hypothesis that learning complex multiplication problems (e.g. 8 × 23 = 184) prior to sleep would benefit recall in adult participants compared with learning the problems prior to a period of wakefulness,” the authors write.
A group of 77 participants were included in the final analysis.
They completed an evening learning session followed by sleep and a test to see how much they had remembered. About 10.5 hours separated the learning session and the test. They also completed another learning session in the morning and a recall test about 10.5 hours later.
Participants were randomly selected to do the evening or morning test first and a week separated the two conditions.
The scores of participants improved under conditions where they had done the learning exercise before sleep and completed the test in the morning. The improvement averaged out to be the equivalent of “one additional fact recalled,” according to the researchers.
They note that the benefit of sleep in memory retention parallels, but is slightly smaller than, the effect already identified in the recall of words.
Now tell me what 6 × 26 equals. But go to sleep after you do so you remember the answer.